Senate Subcommittee Proposes Another Increase for the NEH

Yesterday, the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies joined its House counterpart in recommending a $2 million increase for the NEH, which would bring the Endowment’s funding to $155 million for FY 2019. As noted in our previous post, the arts and humanities communities—including the National Humanities Alliance, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and Americans for the Arts—have been pushing for at least $155 million in funding since the agency’s budgets were cut in 2010. The Senate bill, scheduled to be considered by the full Appropriations Committee tomorrow, brings us a step closer to meeting that goal.

There is also the possibility that Congress will add an additional supplement later in the appropriations process. When the House Appropriations Committee approved the Interior appropriations bill on June 6, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA), opened the door for an additional one-time increase for the NEH and the NEA through his manager’s amendment. Reflecting a bipartisan effort to recognize the legacy of Representative Louise Slaughter of New York, who died earlier this year after serving 31 years in Congress and many years as co-Chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Chairman Calvert included language in his manager’s amendment encouraging additional grantmaking at the NEH and the NEA. The language reads: “The Committee acknowledges and appreciates decades of arts and humanities advocacy by the late Rep. Louise M. Slaughter. In her memory, the Committee encourages NEA and NEH to expand grant-making activities in a manner that honors her advocacy, especially in rural and under-served areas, so more Americans are able to benefit from the economic, social, and educational impacts of the arts and humanities.”

While the amendment does not propose a specific additional amount for the NEH and the NEA at this point, it does signal an ongoing effort on the part of the subcommittee to appropriate additional funds as the process proceeds. We are working with the arts community to encourage this additional infusion for FY 2019 and to advocate for guidelines that ensure the funding will have a meaningful impact on the humanities community.

The House has also released a bill that provides level funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. We are currently awaiting both House and Senate bills funding the Department of Education’s Title VI and Fulbright-Hays program. View the current funding chart here.